• The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced last week that it has settled its lawsuit against the North Carolina Department of Revenue. The ACLU, which joined a federal suit filed by online retailer Amazon last year, argued against the state’s efforts to gain access to personal information from those who purchased products from Amazon’s online store. As part of the settlement, the state will no longer ask for information that could be used to tie people to the books, music and movies they buy online. Amazon had already won a decision in October 2010 from a federal judge in Seattle holding that the First Amendment forbids tax agencies from knowing the books, music and movies that customers buy from websites. Rather than fight the decision, North Carolina agreed to change its data demands, and the case was closed in late January 2011. Though the privacy issue in the case has been resolved, the larger question of whether the Amazon should collect state sales tax remains open. Under a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision, a state cannot force Internet retailers to collect its sales tax unless they have a physical presence in that state and, as such, Amazon collects sales taxes in only Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, and Washington. Amazon.com, Inc. v. Kenneth R. Lay, 10-cv-00664 (W.D. Wa.).